Let us pause to remember our fallen hero, Police Officer James B. Swart, lost this day in 1978.
Police Officer Swart was born on December 27, 1952, in Prince George’s County. He was raised in Riverdale and graduated from Parkdale High School. He started the police academy on October 28, 1973, following in the footsteps of his father, a retired sergeant with the Metropolitan Police Department. Police Officer Swart graduated on March 4, 1974, and was assigned to the Hyattsville station.
On June 26, 1978, at about 1:30 am, Police Officer Swart and Police Officer Albert M. Claggett, stopped a car on Annapolis Road in Bladensburg. The car matched the suspect description in the theft of laundry room coin boxes from a nearby apartment complex. The two occupants were arrested and taken to the Hyattsville station. While the suspects were being processed, one of them suddenly ripped Officer Claggett’s service weapon from his holster and opened fire. Hearing gunfire from another part of the station, Police Officer Swart rushed to assist Officer Claggett. The armed suspect shot Officer Swart in the chest as he approached. Officer Swart was rushed to the hospital where he sadly died of his injuries. Tragically, Officer Claggett died of his injuries too.
Police Officer Swart served the Prince George’s County Police Department for five years and was the ninth member of this agency to make the ultimate sacrifice. He was the 17th law enforcement officer to give his life in service to this profession within Prince George’s County.
At the time of his death, Police Officer Swart was 25 years old and survived by his parents.